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Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?

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  • STEPHAN MEIER
  • ALOIS STUTZER

Abstract

Volunteering constitutes one of the most important pro-social activities. Following Aristotle, helping others is "the" way to higher individual wellbeing. This view contrasts with the selfish utility maximizer, who avoids helping others. The two rival views are studied empirically. We find robust evidence that volunteers are more satisfied with their life than non-volunteers. The issue of causality is studied from the basis of the collapse of East Germany and its infrastructure of volunteering. People who lost their opportunities for volunteering are compared with people who experienced no change in their volunteer status. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2007.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2008. "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(297), pages 39-59, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:75:y:2008:i:297:p:39-59
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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